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HootSuite Takes Social Media Temperature of Australian Election

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HootSuite
Australian Labour Party leader Kevin Rudd hopes to replace former leader Julia Gillard as PM.

Vancouver social media firm HootSuite has unveiled its Australian Election Tracker, touting it as nothing less than a “social media command center” for keeping tabs on the upcoming general election via trending topics on social media platforms.

Labour leader Kevin Rudd, still attempting to hide the knife he just used on Julia Gillard, may have a steep battle pulling this thing out against Tony Abbott of the Liberal-National coalition. However, the polls have the parties quite close at the moment and Rudd is apparently enjoying a bit of a post-coup bounce over Abbott, who had looked certain to defeat Gillard if she had remained leader.

HootSuite’s tracker, meanwhile, will offer “sentiment analysis” while also monitoring the number of mentions of the respective parties on Twitter, the “share” of sentiment around the parties’ Twitter handles, the sentiment around discussion of Rudd and/or Abbott, as well as the number of “likes” and people “talking about” the horses on Facebook.

“The Australian election is a perfect example of how both politicians and voters can now leverage social media to ensure their voices are heard, when it comes to what matters to them and their country. And we’re excited to provide an integral tool in the process: the HootSuite command center,” states Ryan Holmes, HootSuite’s CEO.

In January, HootSuite co-founder Dario Meli made in-roads traveling to Australia to promote his new service, called Quickly. And HootSuite itself holds semi-regular get-togethers, called HootUps, for the purpose of spreading their word, several of which have happened in Australia and Asia. So it’s not as if HootSuite is a foreigner in the land down under.

Keeping in mind the topsy-turvy nature of politics in the Southern Hemisphere (their water drains counter-clockwise, apparently), to treat this election as a foregone conclusion would be a mug’s game. And remembering the overwhelming lack of predictive prowess demonstrated by pollsters during the last BC provincial election, a betting man’s wager may very well be deduced by carefully studying the poll numbers… and then betting on the opposite outcome.

With an upper house election taking place in Japan on July 21, it’ll be interesting to see what other instruments of forecast appear through social media.

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